Our Journey on the Emmaus Road
Invitation begetting revelation, begetting transformation. This represents the creative process, the "Let there be..." of Ministry Emmaus.
First came an invitation to me, an exhausted and weary pastoral counselor, of a few days retreat at Ignatius House in Atlanta, Georgia in 1998. Soon I was immersed in an environment centered on the Abba love of God.
Over the hours of stillness, silence and a deeper listening, like a flower unfolding into full bloom, I was awakened to the poverty of having replaced a loving intimacy of relationship with God for the busyness of ministry.
Over the hours of stillness, silence and a deeper listening, like a flower unfolding into full bloom, I was awakened to the poverty of having replaced a loving intimacy of relationship with God for the busyness of ministry. Clearly I was running on fumes. The fruit of this encounter led me to begin to slow down, listen more intentionally and practice saying "No!" unless otherwise led by God's Spirit to engage in ministry activity.
The second invitation came while attending a men's day of reflection. Just as John the Baptist leapt in Elizabeth's womb at his encounter of Jesus in Mary's womb, my own heart leapt as the day's facilitator spoke about a spiritual direction program to which I was eventually granted admission in 2000. Little did I realize the impact this program would have on my personal journey in the Lord and on the direction of my ministry.
That personal transformation and change in ministry direction began almost immediately for me at the program's first retreat. A Catholic religious sister standing before us candidates and said, "In spiritual direction you will learn when to speak, when to listen, and when to be silent." I found such an idea quite compelling, especially as a teacher of listening skills to counseling interns.
Just what was the difference between listening and being silent? I soon learned that to be silent implied a deeper listening to the Spirit, beyond the words I was hearing and what I was seeing. Practicing this interior silence led me to realize that I had subtlety become more dependent on the counseling model I employed with clients than on the Spirit's direction for them. What a contradiction for one who promoted his counseling ministry as undergirded by the Spirit who was, I assured my client, the Counselor!
Yet another revelation that turned my world upside down was the awareness that doctrine (in this instance correct thinking about God) had led me into a tribal, us-versus-them mindset. This excluded all those made in the image of God who did not think and believe the way I did.
Thus a desire was birthed to establish a ministry of spiritual direction, formation and pastoral counseling, a ministry that is more expansive, more inclusive and, above all, one that flows out from union with the Spirit for the sake of others. This is Ministry Emmaus. Welcome!
Meet Barry & Sandi
Barry has served in ministry over 40 years. As director and founder of Ministry Emmaus his passion is for the spiritual, psychological and vocational development of the believer that flows out of a growing awareness of one’s belovedness having been created in the image and likeness of God.
Barry holds BA degrees in Christian counseling and religious education and an MA in pastoral ministry. He is a certified spiritual director and member of Spiritual Directors International and holds certificates in missions debriefing, pastoral counseling and life coaching. Barry has also served as a ministry consultant and has led spiritual formation programs, days of reflection and retreats both in the USA and overseas.
Sandi hails from Glasgow, Scotland. In her mid-40’s God called her to missions. Sandi moved to Holland serving for 9 years with Youth with a Mission (YWAM) at the ministry’s base in DePoort in the city center of Amsterdam. Eventually Sandi served as the base’s director of Discipleship Training Schools (DTS) and led mission teams to locations around the world.
In 2000 Sandi moved to the USA to join Grace Ministries International in Marietta, GA. There she served as the director of international ministry outreach as well as director of training in pastoral counseling. Sandi holds a certificate in pastoral counseling and is certified in missions debriefing through Le Rucher (France). She also leads women’s retreats, spiritual formation programs and days of reflection.